Doomwyte (ARC)The Redwall Newsline has been provided with an Advance Uncorrected Proof of Brian Jacques' latest Redwall novel, Doomwyte, slated for release this October.

I'll be taking at least a week to read and digest the book, after which I'll write up a proper review. However, there are several interesting tidbits that can be shared right now.

On the technical side of things, the book clocks in at 373 pages long-- only slightly below the 384 listed in online catalogues, but well below the 400 page mark provided by Penguin.

The book is 39 chapters, plus a prologue and epilogue. The jacket text is the same summary that was distributed in the Redwall Reader's Club Newsletter last month, with some minor spelling and punctuation corrections (such as "Gonfelin" rather than "Gonfelein").

The back, in addition to the standard picture of Brian Jacques, included a box outlining Penguin's Marketing Campaign. It essentially repeats everything listed in the Penguin Catalogue, but adds that there will be yet another author podcast on later this year.

On the story side of things (if you want all aspects of the the book to be a complete suprise, stop reading now)...

This is your last chance.

The three sections of the book are entitled "The Raven", "A Prince's Descendants" and "Baliss". Interestingly, below each section illustration is a line of text. For The Raven, it reads "They danced and twinkled in the woodlands at night-.-.-. those little lights." For A Prince's Descendants, the line is "Was there ever such a thieving tribe?" Finally, for Baliss, "Could nothing slay the giant?"

Some of the questions that have been on many fans' minds since the first summaries hit are answered within the first few chapters. For example, yes, the notorious thief referred to in the summaries is none other than Gonff, Prince of Mousethieves. His family tree is described as "the family Gonffen" and we're introduced to at least two descendants right off the bat (one shouldn't surprise anyone at all). And if one takes the title of Book Two into consideration, more are on the way.

DoomwyteThe story of how Gonff stole the eyes of the Great Doomwyte Idol is told by Chapter 3, setting the stage for what's to come (on an interesting note, Martin the Warrior was apparently off on a quest at the time). The Great Doomwyte Idol, as described, evokes the image of Troy Howell's cover. The text also makes it clear that the snake is actually serving the role as some sort of crown (although it's still alive). The eyes themselves are four jewels-- two red (for the raven), two green (for the snake).

Clearing up an earlier theorization, the snake on the cover doesn't appear to be Baliss, but is actually a smaller snake named Sicariss who serves as Korvus Skurr's crown.

The reader is introduced to all of the above within the first three chapters, by which point we've also seen the Doomwytes appear and lead beasts to their death (how they pull off their trick still remains a mystery at that point).

What lies beyond Chapter 3? Here are some bullet points to whet your appetite.
  • The Laird Bosie McScutta of Bowlaynee.
  • The Painted Ones.
  • The Quarry.
  • The Five-Topped Oak.
  • The Blood of Asmodeus.

Here are a few more character names to tide you over, too: Samolus. Torilis. Glisam. Zaran. Aluco. Rorgus. Nokko. Skurpul.

I can say that the book hits the ground running and grabs your attention. The Newsline will have its full review of Doomwyte up by Friday (May 16th), so be sure to check back by then. Below are a few samples of David Elliot's illustrations, which are absolutely phenomenal (as always).